To cut to the chase, I have long since passed the point of exasperation in searching for an honest competent roofer. I could write a whole book on this topic, but am trying to summarize here. Years ago, when searching for a roofer to re-roof my large older house, I methodically called every roofer I could find, even extending the search to other cities 30 miles away. When I described the height of house and complexity of its roof (several valleys, many angled roof sections, many roof sections meeting vertical walls), most of the roofers declined the job stating it was too complex for them to handle. I suspect the real reason they declined without even seeing the house was that they just want to make “easy money” by quickly doing only the simplest two-surface roofs, where they can get the job done in one day and walk away with $thousands.
A few of the roofers I called came to assess the job. Of those, again, all of them declined the job as beyond the simplistic capabilities of their team. This is just a large two-story plus attic older house. It is NOT rocket science. My conclusion was simply that no one really wants to work anymore, but they DO want easy money. If this sounds like an unfair conclusion, —well—, I have yet to be dissuaded from this view by any evidence to the contrary.
After six months of calling roofers, at last one company agreed to do the job. Of course they gave me all the usual assurances of doing expert work, with warranty. I had to wait til the first big rain to see the first problems: inadequate skill and attention to doing the chimney flashing, so it leaked. (Since then, the other chimney is also now badly leaking because of improper flashing). I called them about the first chimney, and they did not properly flash it even then, but only showed up with a tube of silicone to squirt here and there. Later another roof leak occurred elsewhere. I called them repeatedly over a period of months; of course they were not responsive but gave excuses such as they are behind schedule and so-and-so is on vacation, etc… the usual nonsense. After several months of calling they finally agreed to take a look. I warned the company that this leak appeared more involved than something that can be fixed in 10 minutes by a quick visit with a tube of black roof caulk. But that is exactly what they showed up with! Needless to say, their uninvolved slapdash fast “fix” did not fix the leak. After that, they simply stopped taking my calls. So much for the usual “Roof Warranty”! None of them are worth the quarter-inch of paper they are written on. Just try to get a roofer to honor a warranty! Good luck hiring lawyers, etc, and let me know how that works for you…
Since then, and for some years now, I have been living with a growing number of roof leaks, and calling other roofers about repairs. It seems that none of them are interested in a mere repair job, presumably because it doesn’t pay as big as a full new roof job. After calling many roofers, one arrived and brought his ladder to take a look. He was a very experienced roofer in this area, whom we had previously paid to put on several other roofs. He could not identify just what needed repair, or the source of the leak. So he would not take the job, stating that he would not know what to charge. And this is one of the better roofers around! I have not been able to find any roofer who does repairs. In my current opinion, the most “repair” a typical roofer is willing to do is to knock down a nail that has backed out, and maybe quirt some black roof caulk on it. They will not take on the job of finding the source of a persistent leak, and truly correcting the problem.
Bottom line: even if I could find a roofer to fix these leaks, I would not be able to trust his work, and would certainly never trust any “warrantied” work because that is simply meaningless. At this point, the only feasible alternative that I can imagine is to just move into a smaller ranch house with a plain A-style roof and no chimneys. And I am not prepared to relocate and abandon the longtime family “heirloom” house and back buildings over the issue of a roof that no one seems able to handle!
I will not enlarge this note to include other such problems I have experienced on other houses, such as the time we got a new roof on another house and the roofer immediately voided by 35yr shingles warranty by improper “vertical racking” of the shingles to save time. (Plus other serious problems). It turns out that the homeowner has to become fully educated on correct roofing methods in order to even begin to anticipate some of the countless problems that most roofers will cause. Usually, even the roofer is not always aware of just how incompetent their methods and corner-cutting are. The problems roofers cause usually do not show up until later, since sometimes it takes very long persistent rains for certain issues to appear. They get paid, and really do NOT want to ever come back.
Well, this is my experience with roofers over the decades. The best roof I ever had was on a garage, and guess who did 100% of the work? ===> Right, I did, without any help. But my roofing days are over, so I am back at square one. I simply do not see any way to get an honest and competent job from any roofer, or to hold them to any warrantied work.